November 5, 2016
When I was in university, in the late 1970s, it was a time when being a student activist and sticking up for our rights as young people and students and for the rights of minorities and those who did not want to fight in wars and for women’s rights, etc. etc. were causes that many of us in the student movement were proud to fight.
Looking back on those times now, I realize that sometimes we cut ‘our teeth’ on university institutions when it was really the outside ‘real’ world that we were angry with and justifiably wanted to change.
The following article is an example of this, I think. Yes, the university bookstore was supposed to be non-profit but the fact that it made $39,000 over a four year period does not seem to me now to be such a big deal. Mind you, $39,000 were worth a lot more than that amount of money is today.
Here is the piece:
Wednesday, October 25, 1978
“Non-profit” bookstore makes $39,000
by Tanya Lester
Since 1974, the non-profit University of Winnipeg (U of W) bookstore has made over thirty-nine thousand dollars.
Wendy Shand, U of W bookstore manager, thinks the profits are not substantial considering the money book sales made. Last year, sales amounted to three hundred thirty eight thousand dollars.
The ten thousand dollar profit, made in 1974, will be used for expansion costs if the bookstore expands. The bookstore operates on eighteen hundred square feet for about three thousand students. The ideal bookstore size should be one to one and a half square feet per student.
This year, bookstore profits are estimated at five thousand dollars. The money will be used as a safety valve if the bookstore finds it operated at a loss. The U.of W. endowment fund can also cover this money loss.
For the past three years, profits have been refunded to students through book discounts. This year, students have a four percent discount on books. Rising book prices make it difficult for students to realize they are getting a discount. Shand said this increase in prices is “the publishers’ fault.”
Students complain about book prices being higher at the U. of W. than at the University of Manitoba (U. of M.).
“We’re selling a German dictionary for eighteen dollars,” said Shand, “and a lady came in and said at the U. of M. bookstore, it was selling for nine dollars.”
Shand found the dictionary had been on the U. of M. bookstore shelf for five years when the retail price had been nine dollars. The U. of W. bookstore bought the dictionary this year. The publisher’s dictionary price had doubled.
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